First of all – Is there anything more to Florida than Disney World? I’m beginning to think there’s not judging by the reaction of most Londoners when I tell them I’m from Florida. “Oh like Mickey Mouse? Ha Ha. Yes I know Florida!” Every time… (and to be honest they kind of have a point).
Second, two big things have stood out to me about London.
One – The general cheerfulness of pretty much everyone from bartenders, to store clerks to people on the Tube. London has the same hustle and bustle of any big city but lacks the grouchiness that people feel from locals in other big European cities. 95% of the people I have encountered love talking to Americans. They love their city and they want you to love it too (job well done, I really love London).
Two – The oldness of the city and the centuries of history embedded in the London culture that Americans miss out on being only 234 years old (so basically, a toddler). I switched my one class from Risk Management/Insurance (quizzes, graphs, terminology, ugh boring) to Art, Architecture and Artistic Vision (museums, sculptures, history, yay fun) and am soooo thankful I did. I love being graded on my ability to follow around a charming older man spouting historical facts and asking me what I think of the perspective & shading used by Italian and Flemish Renaissance painters (National Gallery, a must-see. Michelangelo and Jan van Eyck, looking at you two). Just two of London’s greatest landmarks are perfect examples of the history of the city – Westminster Abbey was built in 1066 & House of Parliament was established in 1265. Essentially, most buildings here are pretty old, including my flat. Like my window needed two people to open it & it only opened from the top and that’s how we get cool air because there’s no AC old . It can be charming or annoying, which I guess depends on your personality. I find it charming like the rest of this beautiful city
(1) Salvador & Amanda: an underground Spanish bar in the Covent Garden area. Order the Dali – Bombay Sapphire gin and flavored lemon sorbet whisked with cava.
(2) Shakespeare’s Globe Theater: AMAZING. So much fun & so historical. Get a guided tour & maybe even stay for the 2 pm play (except get seated tickets so you don’t have to stand in the peasant section like us -___-)
(3) Regent’s Park: Went out exploring, ended up lost for 3 hours. Stumbled upon Regent’s Park. Enjoy the green fields, get some ice cream and literally stop and smell the roses.
(4) Neal's Yard: Take a stroll through this delightful, colorful little alley in the Covent Garden area. Neal's Yard has restaurants, cafes, an apothecary, and several other retail stores.
My top four favorite things in London so far! More updates to come.